Smart Words of the English LanguageStart - Smart Words

Vocabulary Building


Students are more likely to use a word in writing and speaking if they have some context when they learn it. Thus, an important aspect of vocabulary build up is teaching words in related groups. A Students vocabulary is augmented and the writing is enriched when students are encouraged to utilize a variety of synonyms so that readers can "see, taste, and feel" what they write.


The communication with language partners should be as diverse as possible. A way acquire a broad vocabulary is to use synonyms - this will improve language skills for reading, writing, conversation in all shades of imaginable situation - be they stressful or relaxing.

How to learn new English Words

Learning new words doesn’t have to be boring. Find a book you are interested in, and while reading, underline with a pencil every word you do not fully understand. Later, transfer the whole sentence to an excel-sheet with four columns (or any other tool): word, example sentence, meaning and synonyms. Use your favorite dictionary and/or thesaurus to get all the columns filled. The column “synonym” is somewhat optional. To not the whole sentence will give you, more often than not, a mnemonic advantage (especially if you liked the sentence). As always, learning is supported by positive emotions.

Of course, e-books readers with integrated mark-up functionality and access to online dictionaries are a great help here.

Other ways to spice up your vocabulary can include watching movies or TV series. Again, note the words, you do not comprehend. Whether or not to employ subtitles depends on your proficiency.

This way, you do not have to interrupt reading nor watching and in most cases, the story-line or chain of events can be roughly followed, even if not every single word is clear to you. However, it is important to be honest with yourself, and write down these words, even if the context provides a good clue to you, what they mean. To passively understand a word is completely different from active use, although it is the first step.

Make sure, that you go through your “tool” at least once a week. Do not get too ambiguous about the total number: better 5 words a day you really got into, than 20, which are just formally collected!